Was I surprised to hear that children as young as 6 years old apparently wish they were more tan? Well, I want to say yes, but the answer is no ... not really. Not at all, in fact. But allow me to explain. See, because I am female and live in this world, there were all sorts of things I didn't like about my appearance growing up. My complete and utter inability to get a tan was certainly one of these perceived flaws. A mostly seasonal affliction, at least, but one that certainly colored (or failed to color) my childhood/adolescent summers: While my friends happily flung themselves down Slip 'n' Slides with all the golden brown goodness of Malibu Barbie, I would slide down that slick plastic strip like a vampire with insomnia (before vampires were cool).
A lot has happened since then -- skin cancer awareness, the aforementioned vampires/cool thing, celebs like Nicole Kidman -- so I kind of hoped that when I became a mom, my daughter wouldn't have to deal with the same fair-skinned shame. And as it turns out, she doesn't -- but not for the reasons I expected.
My daughter can actually ... get a tan. Effortlessly. After spending about five minutes in the sun. TADA! Instantly, she's got that "natural glow" endless bottles of self-tanners and bronzers promise (but never deliver). She never burns (except for that one time on vacation in Costa Rica, but those were extreme circumstances). And I know having a tan doesn't "matter" in any real or significant way -- hell, neither do looks in general -- but I'm not gonna lie: It's nice to watch my daughter do the summer fun thing without feeling the least bit self-conscious.
Is that shallow? Probably. But it's also true.
Do you tan in the summer? Do your kids?
Image via Jacqueline Burt